Learning Twi has been, by far, the best part of my experience in Ghana. Not only has it helped make my life much easier by being able to find my way around, buy goods, and make friends, its given me greater insights to the Ghanaian culture than simply living here would have.

An excerpt from the Twi bible

Language reflects culture. Ghana is a communal culture, where the strength of the society stems from the interconnectedness of its people. It is important that when walking around town or in the workplace that you greet everyone the first time you see them. In Twi, maakye means good…

and how traditional wisdom could hold the anecdote

Africa, the land of malaria, HIV, and… hypertension.

“If HIV, with a national prevalence of 3.2%, constitutes a Millennium Development Goal challenge and commands multi-million dollar funding from Ghana’s development partners, why is hypertension, with a national prevalence of 28.7%, ignored?”. This statement is from “Ghana’s neglected chronic disease epidemic: a developmental challenge” published in the Ghana Medical Journal by Ama de-Graft Aikins.

Source: Novartis Foundation

Her point is a powerful one. The stereotype of Africa being a land of infectious diseases has allowed the chronic disease epidemic to sneak up on Ghana. In fact, HIV has a lower prevalence in Ghana than…

And how to actually make an impact

I first came to Ghana with a white savior mentality. I was going to make a difference. I was going to help the Ghanaian people. I was going to improve public health with my three-month research project. I was a student at the University of Michigan, and I would bring my brain power to help Africans improve their work. I was naïve.

The research project was purely an academic exercise. I was essentially helpless in the lab without Ghanaian scientists holding my hand. We generated good data, but had no end goal in mind, as it was conjured up by…

The stereotype is that Africa is hot, but Mampong’s high elevation makes the weather cool. There’s no greater feeling than waking up before dawn and feeling the cold morning dew. You literally feel like you are inside a cloud. The droplets that form on your skin are not sweat, but the condensation of the cool morning humidity. At night you definitely want to wear pants and something long sleeved. The environment is known for its biodiversity, filled with a variety of trees and birds. It’s a tropical paradise in many ways.

The Roadside in Mampong

Mampong is in a part of Ghana called Akuapem…

Alex Ocampo

Began writing to share my experiences in Ghana over the past decade. Originally from Ann Arbor, MI. I obtained a Ph.D. in Biostatistics from Harvard in 2020.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store